Dallas Stars: Kevin Bieksa

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars started Thursday in third place in the Western Conference. They ended it in third place in the Pacific Division and barely in a playoff spot. It’s a sign of just how tight the playoff race in the West is.

The Stars, who have lost three of four games, are now in eighth place in the Western, just percentage points ahead of ninth place Colorado and one point ahead of tenth place San Jose.

“Maybe it is a good reality check of how delicate these next eight games are going to be,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan.

With the Stars and Canucks playing for the third time in less than a month, things weren't exactly delicate on the ice and a lot of it happened after the whistle, which didn’t play into the Stars’ hands.

“I didn’t think our focus was high. Our game plan at the start was to keep the pace high, stay whistle to whistle,” Gulutzan said. “We wanted to get things deep and go after them. In the first few minutes (Cory) Schneider stood the test and made some real good saves. Then we lost focus. We wanted to get involved in an extracurricular game, some of the exchanges, the penalties and the frustration level was way too high. ... You have to be methodical and focused this time of year. You can’t be up and down like a yo-yo with your emotions."

That extracurricular stuff might have played into the hands of the Canucks, who had played the night before in Chicago.

“It kind of ruins the flow of the game, especially against a team coming off a back-to-back,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “Don’t’ want to slow that game down all night, so I think we fell into that a little bit.”

The Stars started strong, creating some early scoring chances but Schneider made strong saves on a Mike Ribeiro redirection and a hard shot by Loui Eriksson from the slot.

The Canucks took the lead at 4:46 of the mark when Henrik Sedin sent a pass from the right boards that was tipped by Don Hamhuis to a wide open Mason Raymond, who scored from close range to give the Canucks the early lead.

The Stars had a chance to tie in the second when Ribeiro was awarded a penalty shot, but Schneider turned away Ribeiro’s bid to keep the Canucks ahead.

“I wasn’t really sure what he was going to do with it. But got him pretty tight and don’t know if he was trying to go past my blocker or through my arm, but stayed with him and made the save,” Schneider said.

The Canucks were able to extend the lead to 2-0 early in the third period when Raymond set up Kevin Bieksa, who had his first shot stopped by Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen but then put his own rebound into the net.

The Stars scored with just over 12 minutes remaining when Schneider came out of the net to play the puck, but it bounced over his stick and Vernon Fiddler put it into the net to make it a 2-1 game.

But the Stars could never get the equalizer on Schneider, who stopped 25 shots to improve to 17-7-1 on the season.

“Gave us a chance to win, played well, moved the puck well, everything you could ask from a goalie,” said Bieksa.


*The Stars were 0-3 on the power play in the game and had no shots on their chances with the man-advantage.

*Stars defenseman Mark Fistric missed Thursday’s game with an abdominal strain. He is expected to miss at least one week.

*Toby Petersen, Ryan Garbutt, Tomas Vincour and Jordie Benn were healthy scratches for Dallas.

*Canucks forward Daniel Sedin missed Thursday’s game with a head injury suffered Wednesday when he was elbowed by Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith.

*Thursday’s attendance was 16,618.
When the Stars met the Canucks in Dallas on February 26, center Vernon Fiddler’s imitation of Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa’s angry face became a sensation. It made Canucks coach Alain Vigneault crack up on the bench, was featured on NHL.com and became a YouTube hit. (The video is below)

Well, with the two teams playing again tonight, Fiddler’s Bieksa impersonation is top of mind again. The Vancouver media had some questions for Fiddler this morning and here’s how the conversation went:

On if he thinks about it when he gets back into game mode tonight

“It’s part of the game. Obviously it hurt the caveman’s feelings a little bit. He was talking about it. It’s the game within the game and it’s part of what we do out there.”

Any chance he’ll do it tonight, if given the opportunity

“I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.”

When told people want to see it

“Most people do. Their bench got a kick out of it. That says the kind of guy he is.”

Asked if he takes requests

“I do.”

Does he have other faces

“I might have a few out there. We’ll see what happens on the ice.”

Asked to give a Bieksa angry face

“No, you can go to YouTube to see it.”

Here's video of Stars Vernon Fiddler's imitation of an angry Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa that had Canucks coach Alain Vigneault cracking up on the bench Sunday afternoon.

Jeff Woywitka out tonight

January, 24, 2011
Defenseman Jeff Woywitka (shoulder) will miss his second straight game when the Dallas Stars take on the Canucks in Vancouver tonight.

Stars coach Marc Crawford did say that both Loui Eriksson and Brian Sutherby, who missed the game in Calgary on Friday, will be in the lineup. That means Francis Wathier will be the scratch at forward. Toby Petersen (leg) is still on injured reserve.

Kari Lehtonen gets the start in net for the Stars.

As for the Canucks, it will be Roberto Luongo in goal. Defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who suffered an eye injury in a game against Calgary on Saturday, is good to go in the game.

Game time is 9 p.m. and it's on Fox Sports Southwest.

Canucks top Stars 4-1

December, 31, 2010
Cory Schneider made 44 saves, and his teammates scored three times on the power play as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Dallas Stars, 4-1, Friday night at American Airlines Center.

The loss was fourth in the last five games (1-3-1) for the Stars, who are winless in their last four games (0-3-1) at home.

Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Kevin Bieksa all had a goal and an assist for the Canucks. Brenden Morrow scored the lone goal for the Stars.

Kari Lehtonen started in net for Dallas and was pulled late in the second period after giving up four goals on 14 shots. Andrew Raycroft finished out the game and stopped all eight shots he faced.

First period

The Canucks opened the scoring with a power-play goal with 2:49 left in the first period. Henrik Sedin one-timed a pass to brother Daniel, who scored from the slot.

Just 47 seconds later Raffi Torres took a pass from Jannik Hansen, split the the Dallas defense and slipped the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead.

Defenseman Matt Niskanen and forward Krys Barch were the scratches were for the Stars.

Second period

The Stars came out with some strong pressure in the second period, had some good chances and had an 11-2 shots advantage through more than nine minutes of play, but the Canucks went on a power play at the 9:40 mark and scored 12 seconds later when Henrik Sedin banged in a one-timer from right circle.

After the Stars killed off another Vancouver power play to keep it a 3-0 game, the Stars got their second power play of the game. With 1:23 remaining on it, Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa pulled down James Neal on a breakaway and Neal was awarded a penalty shot. Neal’s bid was denied by Canucks goalie Cory Schneider. The Stars couldn’t cash in the on the rest of the power play and it remained a 3-0 game.

After the Stars took a bench minor, the Canucks got their fourth power play of the game and they struck again when Bieksa scored from the right point to make it a 4-0 game.

That was it was it for Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, who was pulled after allowing four goals on 14 shots. Andrew Raycroft took over in net at that point for the Stars.

Third period

The Stars got their third power play of the game early in the third period and cashed in with 18 seconds left in it when Mike Ribeiro set up Brenden Morrow, who scored from the slot to make it a 4-1 game with 16:39 remaining in the game.

The Stars got another power play three minutes later and had some great chances, but Schneider came up with superb stops to keep the Stars from cutting the lead to two goals.

Schneider stopped 44 shots in the game for the Canucks, who were outshot 45-22 on the night.